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Air defense market tipped to grow

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 29 (UPI) -- The market for defensive air capabilities in the Middle East is projected to generate revenues of $62 billion from last year to 2020.

Business consultancy Frost and Sullivan said spurring the projected growth can be attributed to Middle East governments' increased recognition of advanced air platforms as a force multiplier.

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"The Gulf Cooperation Council countries are moving toward an integrated air defense network to include air platforms, air defense batteries and air surveillance systems under the 'Peninsular Shield' initiative; but the progress has been slow," a company analyst noted.

"The use of networked force by the U.S. and European forces in the Gulf War and the latest Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been a startling revelation for Middle Eastern MODs (defense ministries) who are now keen on acquiring these capabilities."

Frost and Sullivan's research findings are in its latest analysis: "The Middle East Military Air Market -- Revenue Opportunities and Stakeholder Mapping."

The analysis covers Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.

"The new procurement surge over 2011-2015 highlights on-going big-ticket purchases, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," the company said.

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"Political influence weighs heavily in defense acquisition decisions. As a result, most new procurements are being sourced from the United States under Foreign Military Sales.

"There have been efforts to balance this relationship through procurements from elsewhere, including from Europe and Russia."

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